Are you thinking of migrating to Shopify Plus or looking to do a redesign? Let's help you prepare with our top five design and UX insights and advice. In this post, we'll cover everything from how Shopify Plus measure up in terms of design and UX, how brands can prepare for a creative discovery session, our favourite Shopify Plus project, design trends and predictions, and our own design and UX process here at blubolt. Let’s get started!
1. When starting a new website project, how can brands prepare for a creative discovery session with their Shopify Plus agency?
We’d recommend that brands take a three-prong approach to prepare for creative discovery sessions:
Firstly, consider the overall priorities for the project.
Understand your business objectives and project goals. Make sure you’ve got an internal agreement on both of these points before embarking on a website project, as it will set a clear direction for your eCommerce agency team.
Understand who your target audience is and their needs. In order to deliver a new website tailored to your customers, you need to understand their thought processes, assumptions, and existing loves and pain points with your website. Build a typical customer profile and identify how you could add more value to their experience. We can also help you do this!
Secondly, review your current website.
Create a love/hate list. Run through your website by page type and make notes on what you like and dislike about each.
Conduct a content audit and usability review. At blubolt, we familiarise ourselves with a client’s site content and existing UX and functionality, but you can also think about this in preparation for creative discovery. We also want to understand what’s important from your point of view and to your customers.
Understand existing website performance. Ensure Google Analytics is set up and collecting all your website data correctly. Consider adding Hotjar to your site; this observes users navigating your site and helps us understand your existing site performance. It can easily highlight touchpoints, pain points, and popular features. We’re happy to help you get Hotjar set up, too!
Thirdly, consider things you’d love to do/try/test with your new website.
Wish list. Invite your wider team to submit ideas on potential features and functionality to test.
Competitor and inspiration lists. We ask our clients to provide a list of direct and indirect competitors as well as websites that they find inspiring in general. We can then complete competitor analysis to gain a better understanding of best practices within your industry and your vision for your new website.
2. What is your favourite Shopify Plus project and why?
Definitely our Shopify Plus design and build for fashion brand RIXO.
RIXO is known for its unique vintage-inspired look and great fit, so we applied this to the new Shopify Plus site. Thanks to Online Store 2.0’s ‘sections everywhere’, the RIXO team can modify pages as they wish. For example, the stylish shapes seen on different areas of each page can be tailored by section and device. We also enabled RIXO to control the spacing with margins set by section and device for a perfect fit with the content. In addition, RIXO now has the option to add dividing lines (choosing both thickness and colour) to visually separate sections on each page as needed. The resulting design is dynamic and contemporary, just like the brand!
Read more on that and the build process here.
3. What design and UX or eCommerce trends have you seen develop? And do you have any predictions?
The return of minimalism. After a stressful few years, we saw brands reducing visual clutter and excessive information to ensure that the customer journey was clear and simple.
Abstract imagery, with graphics and text. We saw the merge of photography and 3D using soft shadows and floating elements to create visually pleasing and impactful websites to capture the attention of users and draw attention to key actions.
Better product photography. With consumers not able to see products in person, brands implemented more 3D intractable models and VR. For example, it allows customers to see products in more detail and even place products within their home using their mobile devices.
Delivery and returns transparency. We saw brands offering more detailed information on their delivery and returns policies to capture the attention of shoppers and gain more trust. Overall, expectations have risen, with more consumers expecting free returns, for example.
Building a narrative and driving engagement. An increase in customers wanting to connect with a brand, its story and values need to resonate with them. As a result, more merchants focused on stronger storytelling around their products and brands through social proof, user-generated content, and loyalty schemes.
More behavioural research. After a bumpy few years, shopping habits and behaviours continue to evolve. Retailers need to understand consumers' needs, pain points and goals as a result of the changes so they can add more value to their customer journeys and outperform competitors.
Greater accessibility. We expect to see eCommerce sites become more accessible and inclusive, with a rise in accessible colours and voice user interfaces.
Voice search. With a strong uptake in smart speakers (Amazon’s Alexa) and digital assistants (Apple’s Siri), we see voice search continuing to grow in dominance. This technology makes it so easy to browse and purchase products that websites will have to adapt to create more amazing experiences.
Digital customer support. We will continue to see a large push forward on creating optimal experiences for customer support. This will include the use of AI chatbots and other technologies to help increase sales.
Social commerce. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are allowing merchants to create their own storefronts and sell inventory using specialised checkouts. This is an interesting trend that we’ll be tracking closely.
4. What do clients say is different about the design and UX process when working with blubolt?
They often comment that our design and UX process differ because of the following:
Our passion for great design and UX while remaining approachable and collaborative to work with.
This comes from us wanting our client’s websites to reflect who they feel they are as a brand; we’re not interested in a one-size-fits-all design and UX experience.
Our attitude that no website is ever finished.
We work with our clients iteratively - continually testing, learning and improving their websites. We craft journeys and features that cater to the evolving requirements of the user and our client’s overall business goals. Then, we also work collaboratively with our developers to ensure our designs are achievable in terms of speed and optimisation.
Our data-led design ethos.
We empathise with the user when designing, focusing on data to lead the process rather than the other way around. Our design team is also General Assembly qualified, giving us a deeper understanding of the user-experience process and the importance of user-focused techniques like user-research, usability testing, and iterative design.
5. Compared to other platforms you’ve worked with, how does Shopify Plus measure up in terms of design and UX?
Shopify Plus offers extensive design freedom combined with efficient development. This means we can design and build your site in half the time of comparative platforms.
Flexibility and administrative control.
The administrative controls that we can set for our clients really maximise their in-house flexibility and control. It gives them the ability to curate their own homepages using design-led sections that we’ve created for them in Shopify Plus. This has been a huge win for our clients as being able to quickly change your website at short notice in-house with minimal staff makes life so much easier.
Diverse third-party integrations.
Shopify Plus has fantastic third-party integrations that offer the best practices in filters, loyalty, search, and wishlists, to name but a few. We also find these integrations assist clients in reducing project costs. An app we particularly love is Shogun. It offers both us and our clients bespoke page designs with simple drag-and-drop functionality. As a result, our clients can create lifestyle and visually-led pages in-house, which greatly assists them in conveying their brand story and values.
Have your own Shopify Plus design project?
So you’ve now got five key design and UX insights from our experts to get you off to a flying start in 2024!
Need further assistance? We're an accredited Shopify Plus Partner agency that designs, builds and optimises bespoke eCommerce solutions to help your brand grow faster. Explore our expert Shopify services and browse our client work for even more Shopify inspiration. Alternatively, get in touch to discuss your requirements. We would love to help!